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Climate and Security in Southeast Asia
October 03

Climate and Security in Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia is rapidly developing. Growing populations and a rising GDP and middle class are altering regional dynamics. In addition, Southeast Asia is uniquely vulnerable to the growing threats of climate change. Many countries are prone to natural disasters and their population remains reliant on agriculture. The changing climate will undoubtably threaten livelihoods and security across the region.

Join the American Security Project for a discussion on the climate security risks in Southeast Asia and why it matters for U.S. interests abroad.


Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

Time: 12:00-1:00pm

Location: American Security Project, 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Lobby Level Conference Room

Light lunch will be served from 11:30-12:00pm




Speakers Biographies:

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret)

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn served in the U.S. Navy for thirty-five years prior to his retirement in 2000. His last active duty assignment was Inspector General of the Department of the Navy where, together with his Marine Deputy, he was responsible for the Department’s overall inspection program and its assessments of readiness, training, and quality of service.

Serving in the Surface Navy in a variety of theaters, Admiral Gunn rose through the cruiser/destroyer force to command the Frigate USS Barbey, then command of the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare tactical and technical evaluation Destroyer squadron, DESRON 31. He later commanded Amphibious Group Three, comprising 19 ships, 12 other, separate commands, and 16,000 Sailors and Marines. As Commander of PHIBGRU THREE he served (in addition to many other duties) as the Combined Naval Forces Commander, and Deputy Task Force Commander of Combined Task Force United Shield. Task Force United Shield conducted the final withdrawal of United Nations peacekeeping forces from Somalia in February and March of 1995. United Shield was, and still is, the only amphibious withdrawal operation under fire conducted since the Korean War.

Admiral Gunn’s awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, six Legions of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal (with Combat Distinguishing Device), the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and numerous theater and service awards.


Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is a journalist NPR. She is a Producer for NPR’s flagship news magazine radio program Morning Edition and writes often for NPR World. Ashley primarily focuses on Southeast Asia issues and current events, and assists the network in facilitating coverage of the region by both bringing stories and interviews with newsmakers onto Morning Edition as well as through her individual reporting for NPR World.

Ashley has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has reported on a number of issues including labor issues in the Philippines, Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal and elephant conservation in Laos. She has also produced for NPR reporting teams sent to Bangladesh and China. Before coming to NPR, she worked at NPR member stations and for Voice of America. She is also a former East-West Center Jefferson Fellow and a former International Center for Journalists International Reporting Fellow. Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Kentucky and her Master’s in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr.

Ambassador Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. From 2013-2016, he served as the US Ambassador to Indonesia, where he focused on building stronger business and educational ties between the US and Indonesia, while also developing cooperation to help Indonesia reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award. From 2006-2009, he served concurrently as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in India from 2003-2006, where he was named the worldwide DCM of the Year by the State Department.

Most recently, Ambassador Blake has held a wide variety of key State Department positions as well, including Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001-2003, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Department of State from 2000-2001, and Senior Desk Officer responsible for economic and political relations with Turkey from 1998-2000. He has also served in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.

He is currently Chairman of the Board of the US-Indonesia Society, and he is a member of the board of the Asia Foundation and the Bhutan Foundation. He also is on the Global Leadership Council of the World Resources Institute and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and helps on a pro-bono basis a number of non-profit environmental organizations working in Indonesia.

Ambassador Blake holds a BA from Harvard College, and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

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